My mastectomy taught me an important lesson about family. Read on to find out how my own family turned a depressing time into a joyous occasion!
A few weeks after we received the news that I had cancer, Husband Man and I started the long process of hashing out the details of a treatment plan with my care team.
We found out pretty quick that surgery would be recommended as the first step.
My surgeon gave me two choices, I could either have a lumpectomy (where they take the tumor but leave the breast) or a mastectomy (where they take the tumor AND the entire breast).
Knowing the nerve wrecking trouble this particular breast had given me over the years, I chose to have a mastectomy.
I found out later that the tumor was making it’s way through the deep layers of my skin and pulling my nipple inward as it grew. My doctor mentioned that if I had chosen a lumpectomy, my breast would not have resembled the same past appearance and reconstructive surgery would have been recommended.
She did ask if I wanted reconstructive surgery after my mastectomy but I declined. Going through this was hard enough and I couldn’t imagine going through a few more rounds just to have the perfect breast again.
Plus, call me crazy but it just didn’t feel right to me to have something man-made inside my chest.
After the decision was made, we settled on a date. I intentionally picked to have it done after Christmas because I didn’t want surgery interfering with our holidays. I wanted to enjoy this time with my family.
In Our Family, No One Fights Alone
(A little backstory: My family is scattered all over the U.S. My parents and sister are on the east coast and my brother is just west of us. We don’t live in the same state but we are closer than most families who live next door to each other)
As soon as we had a date, my parents told us they wanted to make sure to be here for things as well.
My mother had been through breast cancer twice (and beat it twice) and she felt very certain that I needed more helping hands by my side.
What I didn’t know at the time was that my entire family (to include my lovely husband) hatched a plan to fly everyone over to our house to be here for my surgery.
It started with my brother arriving on New Year’s Eve and then my parents and my sister arriving on New Year’s Day.
I was only expecting my parents, so you can imagine my shock and surprise when my brother pulled up our driveway and I saw my sister walk up to our front door with my parents.
They even had custom t-shirts made with the words, “In This Family, No One Fights Alone”….complete with my own individualized hashtag (#teamLibby)!
The three days leading up to my surgery were full of laughter, fun conversations, and PLENTY of cooking and eating!
My sister and my mom made my favorite dishes/meals and in the evening, they picked out my favorite movies and we all watched them after my kids went to bed. It was such a calm, supportive, and happy time!
On the day of my mastectomy, armed with the help of God, my parents, my brother, my sister, my kids, and my husband….I marched into that hospital….courageous and strong and ready to take on whatever life threw at me.
Because I realized that in my family, no one fights alone!
Need to catch up? Then click here to read about the beginning of my journey!